In case you didn't already have enough information on how the telcos have lied and cheated their way to power, taking public funds and assets, and breaking the promises made to get that loot, here's another one for you. Larry Lessig points out that Gary Reback (the famed lawyer who spent a good part of the 1990s trying to get Microsoft taken down for antitrust violations) is focusing on a new case: showing how the telcos and the government broke the law in approving some of the recent big telco mergers (the same mergers that helped those telcos get rid of competition, now allowing them to do things like get rid of network neutrality). In this case, the claim is that the mergers were approved while the Senate held back the Justice Department appointee charged with enforcing antitrust law (over concerns that he might actually, well, enforce antitrust laws). Once the deals were approved, the Senate dropped their hold on the appointee. Following this, the Justice Department is accused of ignoring parts of antitrust law (the Tunney Act) that forbid backroom dealings between corporations and governments on antitrust matters, and approving the mergers before a judge could do a review to make sure the Tunney Act wasn't violated. Again, it's a bit early to know whether or not this case is going to get anywhere, but Reback is someone who doesn't tend to give up easily (even if his detour into the startup world didn't turn out to be hugely successful) -- and the telcos certainly have a history of this type of questionable behavior in making backroom deals with government officials (many of which they never live up to their side on). If, as we've been saying, the real problem is the lack of competition in the telco space, finding out that some of that lack of competition came about potentially through illegal means, raises an awful lot of questions.
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